Successful Geothermal Development in El Salvador

The Ahuachapán Geothermal Plant in El Salvador

El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world which has a high percentage of electricity produced from geothermal resources.

Its two geothermal power plants, the 95 MW Ahuachapan, and the 109 MW Berlin plants with a combined installed capacity of 204 MW, supply 21.7% of the electricity needed in the country.

The journey of geothermal development in El Salvador began with exploration in 1955 for its geothermal potential, followed by the drilling of its first geothermal well in 1968.

The country’s first 30 MW Unit 1 Ahuachapán geothermal power plant was subsequently completed in 1975.

Two more power stations were later added – 30 MW Unit 2 in 1976 and 35 MW Unit 3 in 1981 – giving the Ahuachapán power plant a total installed capacity of 95 MW.

Ahuachapán’s three power stations are supported by 21 steam production wells and 9 reinjection wells.

Following the success of the Ahuachapan plant, LaGeo, the operator began building a second plant, the Berlin geothermal plant in 1992.

The Berlin plant consisting of four power stations with a total installed capacity of 109 MW is supported by 16 steam production wells and 23 reinjection wells.

El Salvador can easily double its electricity production from geothermal resources as it still has more potential to develop. It has an estimated 600 MW of untapped geothermal resources in the following areas:

  • Cuyanausul
  • Saint Vincent
  • Chinameca
  • Conchagua
  • Obrajuelo Lempa
  • Coatepeque

Source: Roberto Enrique Renderos

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